Detecting natural hair colors can be quite tricky. Especially today, when people are dyeing their hair like crazy, you can be deceived very easily. There’s also a huge diversity of hair colors across the global population, with each color existing in different shades among different parts of the world. All these factors combined make it very difficult to find accurate statistics on natural hair color.
However, I did my level best to carry out detailed research on the rarest hair colors in the world. And in this article, I am going to share with you everything that I learned about hair colors from my curious research. But let’s begin by answering your question first- “What Is The Rarest Hair Color In The World?”.
Although the numbers are not very accurate, but still you can look at the following table to know the rarest hair colors:
So, red hair stands out as the rarest hair color in the world, followed by blonde, and brown. But what makes certain hair colors so rare while other colors too commonplace? What determines your natural hair color? What’s the specialty of each hair color? Let’s find out the answer to each of these questions.
Why Is Red Hair Rare And Unique
As you could see in the above table, only 1-2% of the global population is gifted with naturally red hair. This tiny fraction constitutes people from Scotland, including other areas in the British Isles, Ireland, and some regions in the Southern and Eastern Europe. The tone of the hair also varies widely from strawberry blonde to auburn to deep burgundy.
Natural redness in human hair arises due to the presence of high levels of pheomelanin, accompanied by low levels of eumelanin (eumelanin and pheomelanin are pigments that determine hair color). Such a distribution of pigments is very rare which makes red hair one of the rarest hair colors in the world.
This can be further understood by the fact that there are very few parents who have naturally red hair and thus the occurrence of red hair among the next progeny is also low.
What Factors Determine Your Natural Hair Color
The human race had only one natural hair color (black) for thousands of years from its origin. That’s because we originated in Africa which predominantly had hot and sunny weather. Due to the excessive heat, the percentage of eumelanin (the dark pigment which protects us from UV rays of the sun) in early human beings was very high. This resulted in a blackish color of human hair, eyeballs, and skin.
However, as the human species spread across the globe, it encountered very different climatic conditions. For example, the northern part of the world was predominantly cold and was devoid of sufficient sunlight.
As humans continued to live in these environments, the pigment composition of their skin and hair changed. A colder climate meant a lack of sunlight exposure, which compelled the human body to lower it’s high eumelanin levels. This gave rise to lighter hair colors like blonde and red.
Now that you know a brief history of human hair, let’s discuss some other factors that can affect your hair color.
1. Genetic Traits
Your hair color is inherited from your parents, half of the genes come from your mother and half come from your father.
First, you need to note that there are recessive and dominant genes. When both are combined, the dominant gene wins. However, there are certain other genetic combinations or variants that would allow the recessive gene to come out to the offsprings.
Well, I know, it’s too complicated. But you can not be blamed as the entire genetics behind your hair color is still unknown to the scientists.
2. Pigment Distribution
There are two major pigments, eumelanin, and pheomelanin that decide the color of human hair. Eumelanin is responsible for the darker tones of hair while pheomelanin influences the redness of your hair.
Black, brown, and darker shades of blonde hair have high eumelanin percentages in their decreasing order. On the other hand, lighter shades of blonde, and red hair have very high pheomelanin percentages while the eumelanin percentage is very low. Such combinations of pigments give rise to the various tones and sub tones of human hair.
3. Sunlight And Scattering
Sunlight has both short-term and long-term effects on human hair. Your hair color might look different in bright sunshine than it normally looks. When sunlight falls on different parts of your hair, at different angles, it gets scattered. This makes your hair color look slightly different.
On the other hand, sunlight may also have some long-term effects on your hair color. Exposure to UV radiations for long-duration might turn your hair weak and dull, and also accelerate its aging.
4. Achromotrichia or Aging
Human hair color changes a lot with aging. A child is born with a relatively lighter tone of the hair. Their hair grows darker with age and when they reach adulthood, they have the darkest hair. Further aging causes a decrease in the pigment present in hair, a medical condition called achromotrichia, which causes greying of hair.
This variation of natural hair color with age differs from person to person. Some may develop grey hair from their early teens, while others may have darker hair, even in their 60’s.
Albinism is a condition characterized by the absence of the naturally present pigments in the skin, eyes, and hair. Thus, a person with albinism develops gray or white hair and skin. They also tend to have light-colored eyelids and sometimes you can directly see through their eyelids.
6. Smoking and Stress
It is proven that smoking makes your hair age faster and might also lead to hair fall. Besides smoking, stress can also have similar effects on your hair color, and prolonged mental stress can be related to greying of hair.
Rarest Hair Color and Eye Color Combination
Now it will be interesting to know the rarest hair color and eye color combinations. According to data, blue eyes along with red hair are the rarest combination. It is found in only 0.17% of the total world population. Both the genes (blue eye and red hair) are rare and it’s very difficult to obtain them in a single person.